“Life is to be lived, not controlled, and humanity is won by continuing to play in face of certain defeat.” Ralph Ellison
There were times, as a child, when I imagined how thrilling it would be to have the magical power to just vanish into thin air and, hovering somewhere between heaven and earth, change things. Things like poverty and inequality, oppression and repression, the treatment of people without a voice and the elderly, and the abuse of power by those for whom authority is not a responsibility but a show of their ability to subvert the law. Strong words, you might say, but that is not my intention… this is more a reflection on the ways many become invisible either because of circumstances, social dislocation, or through the natural progression of life… and the ire invisibility produces.
Hibernation or the choice to be invisible for a while can be exhilarating, if the time is spent gathering strength, and working on meaningful projects of our choosing. However, it can become enervating if our invisibility is not our choice, but the result of our place in society, and the decisions of those who can help us choosing to ignore us. Have you walked into a room full of people and simply vanished because you were not welcome there? Have you observed an elderly person walk into a store and stand at the counter waiting for service and be ignored?
What about when, as they stood there, some cute young thing came in and the person behind the counter came to life? Or what about those who are invisible because they are deemed different? The disabled? Outsiders? Foreign? Aging women? As sad as this might seem, it happens daily and it is what brings on the ire that I speak of; the anger of not understanding why so many forget that we, all of us, share a common human trait; the need to be valued, heard, and respected. More below!